Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

UK: Minister for Hunger; Catastrophically the Wrong Approach


UK: Minister for Hunger, the Catastrophically Wrong Approach

Britain to my knowledge is not on a Post War footing as it was the 5 years or so due to the extreme loss of resources and the terrible loss of life, of the difficulty the population had in attempting to conduct a anything like a normal peacetime economy, and to the country having, at one point, being on its – with not inconsiderable support from its colonies or former colonies, some with very small populations, notably Canada, fought on its own in three theaters simultaneously. Add to this the considerable aid supplied by the UK to Russia, which later entered the War on the Allied side. The UK’s efforts in World War II reduced a nation from being one of the world’s richest nations to one of its poorest, relatively speaking. There was no question then any more than now that

While it is true that the present Conservative Government in the UK have been running what they are calling an Austerity Programme. This single handedly has done more damage to the United Kingdom than anything Thatcher ever did. With the stroke of a pen, this government impoverished a once considerate and caring country, aided, I might add, by the Labour opposition. An eternal shame on both for what is a completely cockeyed programme. Economically, the Austerity Programme makes no sense. (see 1 and 2),

In a word, it is stupid. Far better to have pumped money into the country as a stimulus to economic growth. The results of the Austerity Promme have been terrible. A caring, humanistic country cares for its people and makes efforts to ensure  the well being of those whom the goverment of that country nomially represent. After all, governments of whatever kind rely on the taxation of the population otherwise that government would not and could not exist. This is as true of Syria as it is of Denmark. For a country which has led the world in so many ways to adopt policies which have considerably widened the gap between rich and poor and absolutely reprehensible is the extent of homelessness and of what is euphemistically called “rough sleeping.” With what conscience can anyone in Britain who has a home go to sleep at night, how can any mayor in any city in the United Kingdom go through the next 24 hours without taking action to address the deaths of the homeless ocruing on their doorsteps ( see 3 and 4). Note especially that (4) is from a UK Government office which is to say the government of the UK is not unaware of the problem. That my country has come to this … While not wishing to denegrate, this is what one expects of third world countriesm though it is no less deplorable there. Britain has in my experience was never a country that would under any circumstance tolerate such neglect of its own people. No wonder Britain wishes to leave the EU (see 5 and https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/mar/24/uk-cant-blame-eu-for-problems-that-led-to-brexit-says-juncker6). That country no longer hews to nor believes in EU values. Creating a Minister for Homelessness and Poverty is wrong. Not just humanistically wrong but bad politics and, above all, bad economics. Should you wish to substantially create or add to the slide of country into abject poverty, then adopt this approach. Should you wish to reduce your standing in the world as a leader and one that is respected everywhere, then is the policy you should adopt. Willful neglect of your population is to be expect of dictators. Perhaps in Britain’s case this course of action might be viwed as national suicide, not common on this planet in so far as I aware. There is another side to this coin. This writer is agnostic in his political stance. That is to say he does not cling to any spefic theology of policts. In plain terms, he does no hold beliefs. Rather, he holds convictions. Now, you may ask what is the difference? My reply is: I hold to be ineligible Human Rights which are not cast in stone but grow and extent as we in a world polity our understanding and acknowledge what it is to be human, to be, in every sense of the term, a human being. Human Rights as presently defined are not subject ot dilution of any kind, any more than you would wish to reverse the flow of water in a stream. Human Rights, yes, they are in my soul and in my genes, but, and this is a huge but, with rights come responsibilities. In my mind, the set of one are inseparable from the other. The principle behind the title of this blog is that better democracies, or better democracy, if you like, are only created, achieved, through the greater excision of our responsibilities. The less we devolve to others what are our responsibilities as citizens of a country, the better (see 7 and 8 for examples of this. To clarity (8) look at how the referendum on abortion was framed). Britain has, or is in the process of implmenting a Universal Credit scheme. The approach here is fundamentally wrong. Sure you want to provide care for your citizens. The universaly admired National Health Service is an example of that. But there is a distinct difference between providing support and creating dependency. With this remark we have come to the heart of this article. “Job seekers” can’t find work is there is none. Given such a situation, one answer. among many is job creation. How might the provision of opportunities for income be attained. Once more, there are many approaches that can be explored. A community of leaders, employers, ordinary citizens, employed and unemployed, might convene to find needs in a city or community which are not being met but which may not be, at first glance, profitable to a commercial entity. Often funding is required to establish such activities. A spoil heap may disfigure the landscape in what was a coal mining area and a reuse found for the waste. Tourism may not be much of an industry for that particular city or commuity – well, create it. Who would have said that Glasgow, the city I knew when growing up in Edinburgh, would at one point become the Cultural Capital of Europe. Britain has a huge Heritage industry which offers many opportunities, far too many to mention (see 9 and 10).  Work Training Communtiy Centres can be established. Cooperatives. Etc. Lastly, museums throughout the world have been expanding like a rash upon the skin. A word of caution: you size the endevour whatever it is wherever it is,according to your cloth. A museum could be a cottage that hold a collection of some kind that is unique to the area. Let’s be silly for a moment: The Shoe Museum: the World’s Largest Footwear Collection (doesn’t have to be entirely truthful, a bit of marketing hyperbole goes a long way to getting yourself in the public. ) OK, where do you start. The answer is obvious: use social media – what are other people doing? I leave you with this: during the Dust Bowl years of the United States and the aftermath of the Great Depression: the US with its great ingenuity address in a national manner a job creation programme.

However, Britain is not America and should not ape or try in any way to be like it. But it can be inspired by the many wonderful aspects of it.

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 10 January, 2018

 

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